In 1937, a year after the start of the Civil War, Torremolinos was a fishing hamlet, just a few small fishing shacks and a single-track dusty road, until elements of Franco’s Nationalist Army moved in. Just west of the old part of the town is a hill that occupies a strategic position overlooking and guarding Malaga bay, the site of fortified towers since the 8th century. A section of engineers arrived and built what was for the day, a modern series of protected gun emplacements and equipped them with three models of cannon dating from 1921 to 1940. Beneath the gun platforms were shell and cartridge stores and communications tunnels. Behind the embrasures was protected accommodation for the company of artillery that manned the positions. In the 1950s the army left and the area became neglected and overgrown.
After a long period of reclamation, the Parque ‘La Bateria’ was opened to the public in 2007. The dominant feature is the 15-metre high torre just behind the gun platforms. Literature available at the park grandly proclaims that the tower will remind you of the ziggurats of Mesopotamia. A spiral staircase has been built to allow visitors to climb to the mirador from which there are panoramic views across Malaga Bay. There is also a lift if you cannot face the climb.
Examples of the guns have been re-positioned as they would have been placed in the 1940s and the underground facilities have all been opened to the public, making it an ideal place for children to let off steam. Younger children can also take advantage of the large adventure playground that has been constructed at one end of the park.
The park however is much more than just a playground. Calming, tranquil music is played softly through loudspeakers carefully shaped and positioned to look like natural rock features as you wander round the 74,000 square metres of parkland. You will find about 40 different species of tree from all over the world, including the Norfolk pine; each species is carefully labelled. Many are rare or endangered and deliberately preserved here at Torremolinos.
In the centre of the park is a 9,000 sq metre lake. Here budding mariners can practise their skills with a pair of oars. Water is another theme through the park with creative statues and fountains providing an impression of coolness on the hottest day. If you do need shade then there are wrought iron ornamented pavilions that have a very Victorian, English look to them.
Alongside the kilometre or so of footpaths there are cycle tracks, which is a good idea. What is not such a good idea is the lack of places for refreshment. There is a vending machine selling snacks and cold and hot drinks at the entrance gate and another at the children’s adventure area but that is it. Take plenty of change.
The ‘Parque La Bateria’ is just south west of the centre of town. There are no signs to it as yet but it is marked on the tourist map. When you reach it you will find the park has ample parking space.
Nick has lived and worked in Andalucia for over 20 years. He and his partner, Julie Evans, have travelled extensively and dug deep into the history and culture, producing authoritative articles on all aspects of the region. Nick has written four books about Andalucia and writes articles for other websites and blogs.
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